|Publication number||US8180438 B2|
|Application number||US 12/362,812|
|Publication date||May 15, 2012|
|Priority date||Jan 30, 2008|
|Also published as||US8280499, US20090192381, US20120220849, US20130012800, WO2009097527A1|
|Publication number||12362812, 362812, US 8180438 B2, US 8180438B2, US-B2-8180438, US8180438 B2, US8180438B2|
|Inventors||Brian P. Brockway, Perry A. Mills|
|Original Assignee||Greatbatch Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (34), Classifications (23), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/024,875, filed on Jan. 30, 2008, and entitled “Injectable Physiologic Parameter Recorder,” and from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/097,826, filed on Sep. 17, 2008, and entitled “Introducer System for Minimally Invasive Physiologic Parameter Recorder,” and hereby incorporates by reference the contents of each case in its entirety.
This disclosure relates to implantable monitoring devices, and implantation systems and methods for implanting the monitoring devices at a subcutaneous implant location.
Implantable devices that monitor cardiac physiologic activity are frequently implanted subcutaneously under a patient's skin of the chest. An implantable loop recorder is an example of a device that may be implanted in this fashion. The implanted device may be leadless or may include subcutaneous leads. Two such devices are leadless and have a rigid rectangular shape. Another device, the Sleuth, is shaped like a small pacemaker, and includes a flexible lead extending from a header of the device.
To implant the Sleuth device, a 25 mm incision is made, a subcutaneous pocket is formed near the incision, and a tunnel is formed to extend away from the pocket for placement of the flexible lead using a tool or finger. The device may be inserted through the incision and placed in the subcutaneous pocket, tested for proper operation, and repositioned if necessary. The incision is then closed.
Implanting leaded devices in this manner may be difficult, especially for physicians who are not skilled in device implantation. If the device is improperly implanted, undesirable complications for the patient or suboptimal device performance may result. In addition, tearing of tissue during formation of the pocket and tunnel, for example, may result in tissue bleeding that requires appropriate steps during surgery to avoid hematoma. In addition, it may be necessary to employ fluoroscopy to assure that the flexible lead is properly positioned under the skin. If not properly positioned, the lead may require repositioning to obtain an optimal ECG signal. This may extend the surgery duration, which may increase risk of infection and trauma, as well as expense. A need exists for an improved device shape and associated insertion system for a simpler approach to insertion, shorter insertion time, reduced risk of complications, reduced expense, and a reduced need for expensive equipment, such as fluoroscopy, during device placement.
In a first general aspect, an implantable monitoring device includes a flexible lead body that includes at least one sensing element. The device also includes a rigid main body connected to the flexible lead body at an attachment point. The rigid main body is generally centered about a longitudinal axis defined by the flexible lead body when the lead body is unflexed. The device further includes a measurement circuit, which is housed within the rigid main body and electrically coupled to the at least one sensing element of the flexible lead body and at least another sensing element on an outside surface of the rigid main body. The measurement circuit is configured to measure a potential difference between the at least one sensing element of the flexible lead body and the at least another sensing element of the main body.
In various implementations, a portion of the rigid main body of the device may taper from a first width to a second width narrower than the first width. The portion may taper symmetrically about a longitudinal axis of the rigid main body. The portion may taper approximately linearly from the first width to the second width, or may taper non-linearly from the first width to the second width. A first portion of the rigid main body may taper approximately linearly from a first width to a second width narrower than the first width, and a second portion of the rigid main body may taper non-linearly from a third width to a fourth width narrower than the third width. The rigid main body may include at least a first housing section that is hermetically sealed and a second housing section that is not hermetically sealed. A width of a proximal section of the second housing section may be substantially greater than a width of a distal section of the second housing. The device may also include loop member on a proximal portion of the rigid body. The loop member may be used to suture the device to body tissue, and a withdrawal force may be applied to the loop member when the device is extracted from an implant location.
In a second general aspect, an implantable monitoring device includes a flexible lead body. The device also includes a rigid main body connected to the flexible lead body at an attachment point. The rigid main body is generally centered about a longitudinal axis defined by the flexible lead body when the lead body is unflexed. The rigid main body includes a tapered portion proximate the lead body, and the tapered portion has smaller width nearer the lead body. The device further includes a measurement circuit, housed within the rigid main body and electrically coupled to at least one sense electrode on the flexible lead body and at least another sense electrode on an outside surface of the rigid main body. The measurement circuit is configured to measure a potential difference between the at least one sense electrode on the flexible lead body and the at least another sense electrode on the main body.
In a third general aspect, a method of implanting a monitoring device subcutaneously in a body of a patient includes assembling an introducer, which includes a sheath and a semi-flexible insert, by placing the semi-flexible insert within the sheath. The semi-flexible insert is sized and shaped at least in part to match a size and shape of the monitoring device. The semi-flexible insert and the monitoring device each include a tapered section that tapers from a first width at a proximal end of the section to a second width, smaller than the first width, at a distal end of the section. The method also includes introducing a distal end of the introducer through an incision in the patient's skin to a desired subcutaneous implant location site beneath the patient's skin. The method further includes withdrawing the semi-flexible insert from the sheath without substantially disturbing the position of the sheath at the desired subcutaneous implant location site, and inserting the monitoring device into the sheath. The method further includes withdrawing, in a direction opposite that which it was introduced, the sheath from the implant location site while applying pressure to the monitoring device, wherein an external surface of the sheath splits along an axis as the sheath surface is forced against the tapered section of the monitoring device while the sheath is being withdrawn.
In various implementations, at least a portion of the sheath may be sized and shaped in proportion to a corresponding portion of the semi-flexible insert. The distal end of the introducer may deflect upon contacting a surface of a muscle layer and slide across the surface of the muscle layer without penetrating the muscle layer. The external surface of the sheath may include a surface modification along at least a portion of the axis, and the surface modification may reduce a tensile strength of the external surface of the sheath along the axis.
In a fourth general aspect, an introducer system for implanting, within a body of a patient, a monitoring device that includes a tapered section that tapers from a first width at a proximal end of the section to a smaller second width at a distal end of the section, at a subcutaneous implant location site within the body of the patient, includes a semi-flexible insert. At least a portion of the semi-flexible insert is substantially sized and shaped to match a portion of the monitoring device, including the tapered section. The system also includes a sheath sized and shaped to separately receive, within a space defined by an internal surface of the sheath, the semi-flexible insert and the monitoring device. The sheath is splittable along a longitudinal axis of the sheath to facilitate removal of the sheath from the subcutaneous implant location site.
In various implementations, a distal portion of the sheath may be sized and shaped in proportion to a corresponding distal portion of the semi-flexible insert. The sheath may be more flexible than the semi-flexible insert, and a distal portion of the semi-flexible insert may have sufficient rigidity to avoid substantial deflection when directed through a fatty tissue layer of the patient, and sufficient flexibility to, upon contacting a surface of a muscle layer of the patient, deflect and slide across the surface of the muscle layer without penetrating the muscle layer. An external surface of the sheath may include a surface modification along at least a portion of the longitudinal axis, and the surface modification may reduce a tensile strength of the external surface of the sheath along the longitudinal axis. The system may also include a rod member preformed to define an arc angle, where the rod member may be more rigid than the semi-flexible insert, and where the semi-flexible insert may define a cavity capable of receiving the rod member.
In a fifth general aspect, a method of implanting an implantable monitoring device—which includes a rigid main body and a flexible extension that, when unflexed, is substantially collinear with a longitudinal axis of the rigid main body—in a subcutaneous implant region of a patient includes introducing an insert device to the subcutaneous region of the patient. The insert device has an internal chamber that is generally in the shape of at least a portion of the implantable monitoring device. The method also includes inserting, after the insert device has been introduced to the subcutaneous region, the implantable monitoring device to the internal chamber of the insert device. The method further includes removing the insert device from the subcutaneous region while leaving the implantable monitoring device at the subcutaneous region.
In various implementations, removing the insert device from the subcutaneous region includes withdrawing, in a direction opposite that which it was introduced, the insert device from the subcutaneous region while applying pressure to the monitoring device, where the insert device includes a surface modification to reduce a tensile strength of the insert device. The subcutaneous region may be above a pectoral fascia of the patient. At least a portion of the subcutaneous region may be below a pectoral fascia of the patient, or the entire subcutaneous region may be below the pectoral fascia.
The details of one or more implementations are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, objects, and advantages will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.
Like reference symbols in the various drawings indicate like elements.
By way of example, the device 100 may be a minimally invasive implantable monitoring device that senses and records a physiologic parameter, such as electrical activity of the heart, within a body of a patient. In some implementations, the device 100 is an implantable monitoring device that senses and records a physiologic parameter, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) signal, within the body of the patient and wirelessly transmits information associated with the physiologic parameter to an external device. Such a monitoring-only device that records cardiac electrical information may be implanted in a human patient for a relatively short period of time, such as a few months for example.
Other physiologic parameters or combinations of parameters, such as other electrical signals (e.g., EEG signal, EMG signal, neural signal, bio-impedance signal), mechanical signals (e.g., blood pressure signal, blood flow signal), chemical signals (e.g., glucose), temperature and the like may similarly be recorded by the device 100 in various implementations. The description that follows will focus without limitation on implementations where the device 100 is used to monitor a subcutaneous ECG signal, but in other implementations such monitoring could be combined with or substituted by other monitoring functions, such as arterial blood pressure monitoring, for example.
In some implementations, the device 100 may be relatively small, and may be sized and shaped for convenient implantation within a body of a patient, such as at a subcutaneous implant site, for example, in a pectoral region of a human patient, as will be discussed in more detail below. As can be seen with reference to
The exemplary device 100 generally includes three sections: a proximal section 106, a distal extension 108, and a midsection 110 between the proximal section 106 and the distal extension 108. In various implementations, the proximal section 106 may comprise a hermetic housing, the midsection 110 may comprise a non-hermetic housing, and the distal extension 108 may comprise a flexible lead.
The device 100 may include one or more electrodes for electrically interfacing to surrounding tissue for the purpose of sensing electrical activity. In some implementations, device 100 includes two electrodes. For example,
Referring again to
A first end of the flexible lead 108 is attached at a fixation point to the midsection 110, and may generally flex or bend about the fixation point, according to some implementations. The midsection 110 thus stabilizes the flexible lead 108, yet allows it to bend and flex about the fixation point to conform to body tissue channel formation and subsequent tissue movement and flexing as the patient's muscles contract and expand during daily activities. For example, with some implementations it may be desirable to implant the device 100 such that the lead 108 extends collinearly with the proximal section 106 and midsection 110, as shown in
Referring again to
Referring again to
The midsection 110 may include a non-hermetic external surface, and may be designed to enclose or embed components suited for housing in a non-conductive enclosure, such as components that communicate by field or wave properties that may otherwise be impeded by a conductive housing. In this implementation, the midsection 110 houses an antenna 208 for wirelessly transmitting data to an external device or wirelessly receiving data from an external device. In some implementations, the non-hermetic section may be molded with a polymer such as urethane to avoid having a conductive housing that could attenuate telemetry signals transmitted from, or received by, the telemetry antenna 208. In various implementations, the non-hermetic section 110 may be radiopaque. In some implementations, the midsection 110 can include a charging coil (not shown in
The distal extension 202 may be a flexible subcutaneous lead attached to the midsection 110 at one end. Like the lead 108 of the device 100 shown in
In general, extraction of devices (e.g., devices 100 or 200) according to any of the implementations discussed herein may include forming a small incision in the skin and grasping the device from a proximal end with an appropriate tool, such that it can be separated from attached tissue and removed. Some implementations include a feature on an exterior surface of the device to facilitate grasping of the device. For example, a retraction loop 212 near the proximal end of the device may be grasped or hooked in this fashion for ease of retraction. That is, at time of explant, a physician may grasp the loop 212, for example with a grasping tool, and apply an extraction force. In some implementations, the loop may be used as a suture hook to secure the device to tissue at a subcutaneous implant location.
As can be seen with reference to
The semi-flexible insert 504 may comprise a semi-flexible, semi-rigid polyethylene material in various implementations. In some implementations, the semi-flexible insert 504 is sufficiently flexible to deflect upon contacting a muscle layer during the introduction process. For example, as the introducer system 500 is inserted through an incision in the skin and through a fatty tissue layer below the skin, when the distal tip 506 (see
As shown in
As described above, the semi-flexible insert 504 includes a first tapered section 566 and a second tapered section 568. Like the implantable device, the tapered sections 566, 568 of the semi-flexible insert 504 include opposing lateral surfaces that are tapered. The first tapered section 566 widens linearly from a first width 124 at the distal-end side of the section 566 to a larger second width 126 at the proximal-end side of the section 566 (or conversely tapers from the second width 126 to the first width 124). The second tapered portion 568 also widens from a distal-facing first width 128 to a proximal-facing larger second width 130 (or conversely tapers in the opposite direction), but does so non-linearly, in arcuate fashion. In this example, width 126 is approximately equal to width 128. As such, the tapered portions 566, 568 of the semi-flexible insert 504 are sized and shaped to substantially match tapered portions 120, 122 of the implantable device 100, which may facilitate formation of a fitted implant location closely tailored to actual device dimensions.
In various implementations, the sheath 502 may be formed of a high density polyethylene (HDPE), or of poly-tetrafluoroethene (PTFE). In some implementations, the sheath may be radiopaque. In general, the sheath 502 may be more flexible than the semi-flexible insert 504, such that when the semi-flexible insert is placed within the sheath 502 and caused to deflect, the sheath 502 may similarly deflect. The sheath 502 should nevertheless be rigid enough to hold its shape and avoid collapse when the semi-flexible insert 504 is removed following introduction of the introducer system 500 to an implant location site. That is, when the semi-flexible insert 504 is withdrawn from within the sheath 502 and removed from the body, leaving the sheath 502 at the implant site location, the sheath should generally maintain its shape without collapsing due to tissue pressure on an outside surface of the sheath.
With reference to
The surface modifications may be designed to permit the sheath 502 to split along the axis 600. For example, the modification or modifications may permit the sheath to split from the distal end 601 of the sheath to the area 604 when the finger loops 584 are pulled away from the implant site location while holding the implantable device 100 in place at the implant site location (as by applying pressure at the distal end 104 of the implantable device sufficient to prevent the device 100 from moving in response to pressure exerted on the device 100 by the sheath 502 as it is being withdrawn). When this occurs, the sheath 502 may be expected to split along the axis 600 at portions of the sheath surface corresponding to the tapered sections 120, 122 of the implantable device 100, as these are the portions where force may be concentrated on the sheath. Optionally, a second surface modification may be included along a second axis 600 on the opposite side of the sheath 502. In this fashion, force applied to the sheath at the tapered portions 120, 122 of the implantable device 100 as the sheath is withdrawn from the implant site location may cause the sheath 502 to split along the axes 600 (on opposite sides of the sheath), which may allow the sheath 502 to be pulled around the implantable device 100 and withdrawn from the body, leaving the implantable device 100 at the implant site location. Tissue trauma may be minimized during sheath withdrawal because the sheath 502 may remain substantially flat against the implantable device 100 as it is withdrawn. In various implementations, a single type of surface modification or a combinations of two or more surface modifications can be used. The modification or modifications may be along all or a portion of the axis or axes, which axis or axes may be positioned at any appropriate location along the sheath, in various implementations.
In various implementations, the flexible insert 760 with the curved distal portion 762 may then be inserted into a sheath (e.g., sheath 502), which may cause a distal portion of the sheath to assume the curved shape of the distal portion of the insert, as shown in
The implanted device 100 may periodically transmit collected data to the handheld device 960, such as every few hours or once per day, for example. In some implementations, the implantable device 100 may transmit sensed data in real time to the handheld device 960, and the handheld device 960 may store the data in internal memory or display the data as a waveform or otherwise on a display screen 970 of the handheld device 960. In some implementations, functionality of the handheld device 960 and the charger 965 may be combined within a single device.
A base station 975 may communicate (e.g., wirelessly) with the handheld device 960 and/or the charger 965, and may receive data from (or send data to) either device in various implementations. The base station 975 may transmit data over a network 980 to a remote server device 985, where the data may be processed and analyzed (e.g., by a physician or a health care provider). In some implementations, data analysis may occur within the implanted device 100, the handheld device 960, the charger 965, or the base station 970. Data analysis can include detection of cardiac anomalies based on the collected data.
Referring again to
A method of inserting an implantable monitoring device—which may include a rigid main body and a flexible extension collinear with a longitudinal axis of the rigid main body when unflexed—to a subcutaneous implant region of a patient may include introducing an insert device having an internal chamber that is generally in the shape of the implantable monitoring device to the subcutaneous region of the patient. The method may also include introducing the implantable monitoring device into the insert device, and removing the insert device while leaving the implantable monitoring device at the subcutaneous region. For example, the sheath 502 may be considered an insert device that includes an inner chamber generally in the shape of the implantable device.
In various implementations, any of the implantable devices, semi-flexible inserts, or sheaths, may include a single tapered section, rather than two tapered sections. In some implementations, tapered sections may be omitted.
Some implementations of the sheath 502 may include one or more low-profile surface features on or near the distal end of the sheath to prevent the sheath 502 from moving from the implant site location when the semi-flexible insert 504 is withdrawn from the sheath 502. As one example, one or more small protrusions may provide a bit of friction when pulling backward on the sheath 502 (but not when pushing forward during introduction of the sheath and semi-flexible insert). The protrusion may be a low-profile shape having a raised portion facing the proximal end of the sheath in some implementations. For example, the protrusion may have a triangular shape, with a longest edge of the triangular shape (e.g., a hypotenuse if the triangle is a right triangle) facing the distal end of the sheath. In some examples, a corner of the triangular shape with a largest angle between adjacent sides of the triangle may be the raised portion, or the portion of the shape most-raised with respect to the sheath surface. Other shapes (e.g. diamond shape or arrowhead shape) can also be used. The surface feature or features may provide enough friction to make it easy to extract the semi-flexible insert 504 without disturbing the position of the sheath 502 at the implant site location, but not enough to cause tissue abrasion when extracting the sheath after placement of the implantable device. In some implementations, the surface feature(s) may be omitted. While withdrawing the insert 504, the physician may apply a force to the sheath 502 to prevent the sheath 502 from moving as the semi-flexible insert 504 is withdrawn, for example.
Exemplary widths of the implantable devices discussed herein may be, at their widest point, about 17.8 mm in one implementation and about 22.1 mm in an alternative implementation, though even smaller widths are possible. With devices having these widths, skin incisions as narrow as 13.5 mm or 17 mm may be possible.
In some implementations, the implantable device 100 may be subcutaneously implanted without using the introducer system. For example, a physician may use a hemostat tool to grab, for example, the distal tip of the flexible extension 108, and use the hemostat to insert the device under the skin. The one or more tapered sections of the implant device 100 may facilitate the insertion, in this example.
In an implementation, the device is implanted such that the rigid body of the device occupies an upper-pectoral-region subcutaneous position, and the flexible lead is routed inferiorly and located over a right atrium of the patient. For example, a distal end of the lead may be positioned near a middle of the lower chest, over the sternum.
In some implementations, the device 1010 may be relatively small, and may be sized and shaped for convenient implantation within a body of a patient, such as at a subcutaneous implant site, for example, in a pectoral region of a human patient. For example, the device 1010 may be generally cylindrical in shape (having a round cross-section) and may have a length within the range of about 4 cm to about 10 cm, an outside diameter in the range of about 4 mm to about 10 mm, and may be inserted or injected under the skin of a patient using a trocar or similar insertion device, according to some implementations. A round cross-sectional shape may provide compatibility with existing round-bore trocars or other surgical tools. This implant method may result in only a small, minimum-trauma entry point in the skin and a tunnel for the device, which may facilitate clean tissue healing that results in a less noticeable scar at the implant site as compared to conventional implantation procedures for larger devices.
As shown in
In the example depicted in
In some implementations, the rigid sections 1015 may be hermetically sealed and the flexible sections 1020 may be non-hermetic. In other implementations, some of the rigid sections 1015 may be hermetic and others may be non-hermetic. In various implementations, exterior surfaces of the hermetic sections may be fabricated from a metal or ceramic, and exterior surfaces of the non-hermetic sections may be fabricated from a polymer. In some implementations, the flexible sections 1020 may be of reduced diameter compared to the rigid sections 1015 for improved flexibility, as shown in
An exterior surface of the rigid sections 1015 may be fabricated of a metal such as titanium, according to some implementations. An exterior surface or a portion of an exterior surface of a rigid section may be used as an electrode (e.g., as a sense or stimulation electrode). Rigid segments not used as an electrode may be coated with an insulator (e.g., parylene), which may avoid formation of conductive paths across the device sensed parameter vector. If a portion of the rigid section 1015 is to be used as an electrode, the remaining portion may be coated with an insulator.
The rigid sections 1015 may house electronics and components that permit the implantable device 1010 to function.
The rigid sections 1015 can be sized so that they are small enough to avoid causing skin irritation or discomfort for the patient, yet large enough to hold the electronics or components that permit the implantable device to function. In some implementations, the rigid sections are less than about 3 cm in length. The sizes of various sections of the device may be varied with respect to other sections, whether by length, width, or shape. For example, rigid sections may be sized according to the components or circuitry they will house.
In various implementations, the components of the device can partitioned between rigid segments in a manner that minimizes the number of interconnects between segments. In one exemplary implementation (not shown), three rigid segments of length 2.5 cm house a battery, electronic circuitry for ECG measurement and telemetry, and a recharging apparatus/coil and telemetry antennae, respectively. The segment with the recharging apparatus/coil and telemetry antennae may be molded with a polymer such as urethane to avoid having a conductive housing that could attenuate the power or telemetry signals.
The flexible interconnect sections (1020, 1130) may take many different forms. Material choices for the flexible sections may include elastomers such as silicone or polyurethane. The elastomer section may have a sleeve of wire braid or mesh embedded, which may add strength or may prohibit flexure beyond a predetermined angle. Since the elastomer materials are non-hermetic, hermetic feedthroughs (not shown in the figures) may be provided where electrical connections enter/exit the hermetic sections to maintain hermeticity of that section. Electrical connections through the interconnecting element may take the form of a helix, which may provide a long flex life. The electrical conductors may be molded into the elastomer material to minimize or prevent voids where water may accumulate. The electrical connections may optionally be coated with parylene or other material to provide a secondary formfitting barrier that isolates each conductor. In some implementations, the helical conductors and elastomer may each contribute stiffness to the flexible section that, in combination, may permit bending sufficient to move with body flexure but resist extreme bending due to device migration or manipulation by the patient. Where there are adjacent hermetic segments, the hermetic feedthroughs for the mating ends of the segments may be sourced as a single assembly, including contiguous conductors through and between them. This may reduce cost and provide increased robustness for the device.
Referring again to
Recharging may alternatively be accomplished via ultrasound energy, light energy, or radio frequency energy originating from outside the body. In an implementation, energy generated by movement (motion or flexure), chemicals, or temperature differentials within the body is used to recharge the battery 1030. Energy from body motion may be harvested within the device 1010 by components that convert motion to force/ displacement (e.g. via inertial forces on a weight), and force/displacement to electrical energy (via a material such as a piezoelectric material), as will be discussed more fully below. Energy derived from body flexure (resulting in device flexure) may only require conversion of force to electrical energy.
Device cross-sectional shapes other than circular may be used.
A device with such a shape could be injected with a trocar that has a deformable bore or is preformed with a matching flattened bore. A trocar with a round bore can be used to place an initially round but flexible sheath that can then flex to insert the device with ovoid cross section through it after the trocar is removed. Alternatively, a trocar with a round bore sized to accommodate the flattened cross section of the device could be used to inject the device without the sheath.
While harvesting energy from body flexure for powering electrical circuitry or charging a battery may be used with any of the implementations described herein, it may be particularly appropriate for implementations that include multiple rigid hermetically sealed segments and flexible segments that interconnect them. When such body movement occurs, forces from body flexure are applied to the rigid segments, and then concentrated at the flexible interconnecting elements. One or more piezoelectric elements may be incorporated within the flexible segment(s) (or within a flexible extension), which may flex in response to the body movement and movement of the rigid segments relative to each other. The one or more piezoelectric elements may then generate electrical energy as a result of the movement. Such flexure may arise, for example, from a continuing repetitive body function such as respiration, or intermittent voluntary flexure initiated by skeletal muscles.
Some implementations include a liquid enclosed within one or more flexible sections. The liquid can be used to accumulate the force applied to the flexible joint, as described above, and refer that force to the piezoelectric element for generation of electrical energy that may be used to power electrical circuitry or charge a battery of the device. A space defined by the flexible section may be designed to deform with joint flexure such that volume and/or pressure of the liquid changes in response to flexure of the joint. The piezoelectric element can be coupled to the space enclosing the liquid such that changes in liquid pressure deform the piezoelectric element and cause electrical energy to be generated. In some implementations, the space may be defined by a void within an elastomer such that extreme pressure changes are limited by compliance of the elastomer and do not rise to levels that would damage the piezoelectric element. In various implementations, the piezoelectric element may be mounted on a diaphragm to provide structural integrity and media isolation from the liquid. The liquid may be chosen to have a chemical composition that minimizes permeation through the elastomer over time, and may be biocompatible so that any fluid that is leaked to surrounding tissue has benign effect. Alternatively, the space containing the liquid may be defined by a metallic structure. The metallic structure may incorporate a bellows-like feature to improve flex life and provide compliance to limit pressure. This implementation may eliminate the need to choose the liquid based on permeability considerations.
In some implementations, the flexible sections or extensions 1210 may be comprised of silicone. The flexible extensions 1210 may be designed to also enclose or embed components suited for housing in a non-conductive enclosure, such as components that communicate by field or wave properties. In the depicted example, the leftmost extension 1210 a encloses a recharging coil 1230 and the rightmost extension 1210 b encloses a telemetry antenna 1235. An embedded recharging coil or telemetry antenna may be designed with a wire-type and/or geometric construction that would allow the component to flex with the flexible extension in response to a contour or movement of surrounding tissue material without sacrificing long-term reliability. Alternatively, these components 1230, 1235 may be of a rigid construction, which may allow a wider selection of appropriate wire types and geometric constructions.
A rigid component construction may be more resistant to long-term flexure failure, and may provide greater stability of electrical properties of the component, such as resonant frequency. In the case of rigid construction, the component 1230, 1235 may be enclosed or float within a fluid-filled cavity defined by the extension 1210, which may minimize or eliminate shear stresses associated with direct adhesion of the silicone to the component 1230, 1235.
Another implementation includes, as an alternative to an electrode on the body of the device (e.g., as shown in
One implementation of a rigid device, such as the device 1300 shown in
As described above, charging energy may be provided to the implantable device in a number of ways, and the device may include a component or circuitry to interface with the external charging unit. For device implementations that utilize magnetic-field recharging means, the device may include a coil (e.g., coil 1040, 1120, or 1230) for receiving charge energy that is as large as practical to maximize the energy transfer rate. In some implementations, the coil is not be shielded by a conductive housing. At charge frequencies of about 125 KHz, however, attenuation through a conductive housing may be low enough to still allow feasibility. In implementations where avoiding coil enclosure within a conductive housing is desirable, the coil may be incorporated in one or more of the flexible segments. Alternatively, housing enclosing the charge reception coil may be ceramic, which can be hermetic yet still pass the magnetic field energy with minimal attenuation. Implementations that include multiple flexible segments can have coils in multiple segments to improve reception of charge energy and reduce charge times or increase a distance within which the external charge device must be maintained with respect to the implanted device during charging.
Some implementations include multiple coils arranged in different orientations within a single segment. For example,
Alignment of the charging coils (transmit coil in the charger and receiving coil in the implant) can pose significant challenges in design of the charging apparatus, as it may be difficult to satisfy a combination of engineering and user constraints. In a simple implementation with just one transmitting coil and one receiving coil, the coils may need to be kept in approximate alignment for optimal coupling, preferably requiring minimal inconvenience and/or interaction for the patient. Sources of misalignment that can occur over time include migration of rotation of the implanted device, and in implementations that utilize a body-worn charger, undesired movement of the charger. Misalignment can be minimized and its effects mitigated to some extent with appropriate design of the coils, devices, and patient-worn accessory that holds the charger, but some patient interaction and compliance may still be required in some implementations.
Some implementations provide feedback to the patient on energy transfer rate and/or coil alignment. The implanted device may provide feedback regarding power received and may transmit the feedback to the external device, which may provide the feedback to the patient in any number of ways. The feedback to the patient may be audible, visual, tactile, or other used singly or in combination. In some implementations, the feedback may be continuously provided, while in other implementations feedback may be provided only if power transfer dips below a predefined level as a warning to inspect and correct the alignment. Some implementations may provide patient feedback based solely on information derived at the external charging device, such as the transmit coil loading, for example.
Some implementations that address coil alignment and power transfer use multiple coils with different orientations or positions in the implanted device, the external charger, or both. As described above, charge or charge reception apparatuses may include multiple coils having orthogonal orientations to facilitate transfer of energy despite wide alignment variations between transmitting and receiving apparatuses. As one example, multiple coils may be used within the charger (or the implanted device), and may be positioned side-by-side to create a larger area for optimal coupling to the implant (charger). In various implementations, output of the multiple coils could be summed, or the highest output coil could be selected via active or passive means. A preferred charger coil may be determined by feedback communicated via telemetry from the implant regarding power transfer as the charger switches between the different transmit coils, according to an implementation. Alternatively, multiple charger coils may be driven out of phase (e.g., 90° out of phase) to create a rotating magnetic field that may be well-received by a single coil in the implant over a variety of orientations. As another alternative, a coil in the implanted device may be rotated on commutated connections, and may include a small magnet to align it with the charge coil in the external device. Such an implementation can include a magnet to provide the alignment force to the implant coil/magnet.
As described above, the implanted device may provide feedback via telemetry to an external charger. In other implementations, the various communications and/or charge energy transfer may occur independently. Implementations that concurrently receive charge energy and transmit information may use energy directly from the charger for powering transfer of the ECG data. For this reason, it may be feasible to use a smaller battery with smaller charge capacity, and the useful life of the battery may be extended. Also, the transfer of data from the implanted device to the external device may be performed at a reduced current level, and may have improved reliability because the charger is already proximal to the implant.
If the required data transmission intervals and charge intervals are similar (e.g. daily), then it may be reasonable to accomplish charging and data transmission concurrently with the devices in close proximity to reduce energy needed for data transfer. Such a system may still include provisions for a longer-range method of bidirectional communication to accomplish a patient activation and transmitted response to activation. In some implementations where charging and data transfer are performed concurrently, the two operations may be performed using the same frequency or harmonics thereof, or they could be performed at separate frequencies. Using separate frequencies may have a regulatory advantage in that, if an ISM frequency is used only for energy transfer and not for communication, it may operate at a higher power than if it is also used for communication. The power would potentially be limited by the Specific Absorption Rate (tissue heating) and not by FCC limits. The communication from the implant for feedback on power transfer and coil orientation could be performed at the same frequency that is used for ECG data transfer, or at a different frequency.
Minimizing the time required to charge the implanted device and maximizing the intervals between charging may improve patient compliance. At the same time, and perhaps in conflict, it may be helpful to align the charge cycle concurrent with (or reminded from) a recurring activity that a typical patient already performs in a predictable cycle. The strongest human cycle is daily, with other cycles including weekly, semi-daily, etc. Another factor in determining an appropriate charge cycle is the cycle required to acquire (upload) data from the device, which may be approximately daily depending on the implant memory size, data compression, and the amount of source data.
Even with implementations where the external charger is body-worn, the charge cycle may be more efficient if the patient is relatively inactive during charge cycles. Examples of appropriate times for charging the implantable device may include during patient sleep, while the patient is seated during a meal, or any time the patient is seated, such as when reading, watching TV, doing office work, or driving a vehicle.
As described above, the external charger may be included in a wearable accessory. Alternatively, the charger may be positioned on the patient (e.g., positioned on the patient's chest while the patient is in a supine position) or adhered to existing clothing. As one example of a wearable accessory that contains and positions the charger, a minimal vest may be provided with the overall positioning accomplished by holes for the neck and at least one arm. Weight and thermal barrier properties of the vest and/ charger may be minimized for patient comfort. In some implementations, thermal isolation and/or cooling may be provided between the patient and the charger during charge cycles.
Many variations are possible. For example, the flexible sections may be formed using bellows to provide flexibility for the implanted device. Optionally, a sleeve may be provided over the bellows to prevent tissue ingrowth into the convolutions of the bellows, which may make extracting the device difficult. Referring again to
Various implementations of the device may include interconnecting segments, with at least one of the segments sufficiently hermetic for housing electronic circuits for reliable operation when implanted chronically within a body of a human or animal. In some implementations, other segments of the device may not be substantially hermetic, but may be at least somewhat flexible. Biopotential sense electrodes may be positioned at or near ends of the device. Flexibility provided by the device may make the device more comfortable for the patient, and may improve the contact with tissue relative to a device body that is rigid along its full length. The flexible segments may contain certain functional components of the device such as a communications antennae, recharging apparatus, and battery. The flexible segments may also contain interconnection to connect the sensing electrodes to the rigid section(s) containing the signal processing electronics.
A layer of tissue, referred to as fascia, covers the pectoral muscle. In some implementations, any of the devices discussed herein (e.g., devices 100, 200, 1010, 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400) may be introduced to a sub-fascial implant location. In some cases, introducing the device to a sub-fascial location may reduce a risk of erosion and may provide a more stable implant location. In some implementations, the device may be implanted such that the entire device remains above the pectoral fascia. In alternative implementations, the fascia may be penetrated and the device may be implanted such that the entire device is located below the pectoral fascia. In yet other implementations, the fascia may be penetrated and the device may be implanted such that a distal portion of the device is positioned below the fascia and a proximal portion of the device is positioned above the fascia.
A number of implementations have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the techniques, devices, and systems discussed herein.
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|U.S. Classification||600/509, 600/378, 607/11, 607/9, 607/122|
|International Classification||A61B5/04, A61N1/00, A61B1/00|
|Cooperative Classification||A61B5/7232, A61B5/042, A61N1/0504, A61B5/0031, A61N1/37229, A61B2560/066, A61N1/3787, A61N1/375, A61N1/3756, A61B2560/063|
|European Classification||A61N1/372D2E2, A61B5/042, A61N1/378C, A61N1/05C, A61N1/375|
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